Women unite against violence

Women at the Oudevlei Road traffic lights on Prince George Drive.

The death of 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana was the breaking point for a public sickened by the daily toll of women and children raped and murdered, and the outrage that followed found expression in protests across the country, including the far south.

A 42-year-old post office employee with a criminal record has confessed to raping and killing Uyinene at the Clareinch post office, metres away from the Claremont police station, before burning her body and burying her in a shallow grave in Khayelitsha.

Since Uyinene’s murder, there have been protest marches and silent vigils almost daily across the country.

Women have taken to the streets in the thousands and have marched, wept, and raised their voices as one, demanding an end to the violence.

And there have been more deaths, more missing children, more rapes. Every day since.

According to SAPS data, 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetimes – but only one in nine rapes are reported, and it is estimated that only 14% of rapists in this country are convicted.

According to Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation, South Africa’s crime stats for the year 2017-18 showed an increase to 20 336 murders from 19 016 the year before.

Africa Check lists an average of 56 people murdered daily. For the same period, femicide showed 2 930 cases; a woman is murdered every three hours – and the murder of women and children made up 19.3% of the total murder count.

South Africa had the fourth highest female interpersonal violence death rate out of 183 countries listed by the World Health Organisation in 2016, at 12.5 out of 100 000 women. This was 4.8 times the global average rate of 2.6.

Iraq was at number 10 on that list with a female interpersonal violence death rate of 9.1.

With child murders, more boys were murdered than girls – 691 boys and 294 girls. And adult men made up the majority of deaths accounting for 16 421 deaths, which is equal to a murder every 30 minutes.

There was an average of 110 rapes a day, with 40 035 rapes reported during the 2017/18 year.

Three protests were held in the Muizenberg surrounds over the past week.

On Thursday, September 5, a group of people from Capricorn held a protest on Prince George Drive at the Marina da Gama/Vrygrond intersection.

Banners were held up saying “my body is my business” and “no means no”, and the women felled by violence were remembered, across colour lines.

On Friday September 6 Muizenberg Main Road was filled with men and women protesting violence against women in a demonstration organised by Muizenberg resident Helga Jansen-Daugbjerg and supported by Muizenberg Crime Watch, Neighbourhood Watch and Safer Together.

Ms Jansen-Daugbjerg said the protest had been supported with a memorandum demanding that magistrates throw the book at those who hurt and kill women and children.

Three men arrived at that protest and took turns carrying a sign that read “one rapist one bullet”.

Aryn and Eli Rousseau were at the protest with their mom, Bianca, holding a poster that read “stop killing us” while Mateo Cockburn held up a sign which changed the expression “boys will be boys” to read “boys will be: held accountable”.

And then on Monday at 9am, a group of men in Muizenberg took part in an event organised by the Mankind Project – a personal development course specif ically for men – and 13 men stood in silent solidarity for nine minutes.

This was one of many similar events across the Cape Peninsula.

Muizenberg actor David Muller, who has signed up to do one of the upcoming Mankind Project courses, said: “It was good to know there are men out there who care.”